Newsroom24x7 Special Correspondent
New York: Blunting the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif’s tirade against India at the UN General Assembly last week, India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj today said at the UNGA that nations where UN designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.
Ms. Swaraj was speaking during the general debate of the 71st United Nations General Assembly. She said: “The Prime Minister of Pakistan used this podium to make baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country. I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan.” The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression, she said adding those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.
She told the UNGA that the Prime Minister of Pakistan also said that India has placed pre-conditions for talks which are not acceptable to him. She pointedly asked – What pre-conditions? Did we impose any pre-condition before extending an invitation for the oath-taking ceremony of our Government? Did we impose any pre-condition when I went to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference and agreed to begin the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue? Did we impose any pre-condition when Prime Minister Modi travelled from Kabul to Lahore? What pre-conditions? We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well being. Did all this come with pre-conditions attached?
What did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri, said Swaraj. Pinning down Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, the Indian Foreign Minister said, Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial. It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets. My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.
“History proves that those who seed extremist ideologies, reap a bitter harvest. The germ of evil has grown into a hydra-headed monster, backed by technological sophistication that threatens the peace and harmony of our world. We will not be able to win against terrorism by making specious distinctions between your problems and mine, between terrorists who attack you and those who attack me. For we do not know who this Frankenstein’s monster will devour next, Swaraj went on to observe.
The Indian Minisetr was firm in stating “we want to defeat terrorism, there is only one way – that we unite across our differences, add steel to our resolve and inject urgency in our response. We need to forget our prejudices and join hands together to script an effective strategy against terror. This is not an impossible task provided we have the will. We can do it, we must do it. Otherwise our future generations will forever hold us to account. And if any nation refuses to join this global strategy, then we must isolate it.”
In our midst, Swaraj said, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account. These nations, in which UN designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.
Reflecting on the scourge of terrorism, Ms. Swaraj told the UN Assembly that the current month of September marked the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on this city (New York). Tragically, less than 15 days ago, she said, another attempt at killing innocents was made through an act of terror in this same city. She further said: “We, who have suffered in Uri recently, understand the pain inflicted by the same forces. The world has been battling this scourge for long. However, despite the blood and tears of innocent victims, attacks this year alone in Kabul and Dhaka, Istanbul and Mogadishu, Brussels and Bangkok, Paris, Pathankot and Uri as well as daily barbaric tragedies in Syria and Iraq, remind us that these malevolent forces are yet to be defeated.”
Emphasising that terrorism is undoubtedly the biggest violation of human rights, Ms. Swaraj pointed out that it targets the innocent and kills indiscriminately and said terrorism has gone way beyond affecting individuals or nations – it is a crime against humanity itself. But it is important to ask – who is behind this and who benefits from it? Terrorists do not own banks or weapons factories, so let us ask the real question: who finances these terrorists, who arms them and provides sanctuaries? We heard similar questions being asked by Afghanistan from this podium.